USUALLY what sailed through the air in our small city apartment was wadded-up paper targeted for a wastebasket. But this time it was a book. Something my husband had read in that book disturbed his usual calm, even stoic, manner. He retrieved the book, however, and continued reading it that day and every day thereafter.
The book was Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I was almost pleased to see my husband's stoicism shattered. While I was grateful for his calming influence in our lives, I felt that just suffering through the difficult time we had been having was not the answer. It looked as if we might not be able to have the children we had taken for granted would be part of our family. We felt something really needed to change. We both began reading Mrs. Eddy's book.
Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and every time I picked up her book, a new perspective of God and of my relation to Him would enlighten some trouble spot. My husband was experiencing the same thing. Once, for example, he was discouraged about his business. He found a sentence in the book that convinced him that God didn't make laws that would burden mankind, but that His law was a blessing. As a result, my husband found a new business procedure that was much more productive. Even more important to us at that time was the healing I had when another miscarriage threatened. I remembered something I had read in Science and Health and gained the assurance that God, whom the book often calls Love, as the Bible does, would not let barren year succeed barren year. God is Love, and He fills our lives with an abundance of joy. Six months later our daughter was born, and a couple of years after that we had a son.
I've called Science and Health a book of a thousand cures, but it's really impossible to count or limit the infinite healing this book is bringing to the world by opening up to us sixty-six other books of time-proven help--the books of the Holy Bible.
The Bible was Mrs. Eddy's sole source for the ideas she expresses in Science and Health. For it was the Bible, especially Christ Jesus' life and example, that she pored over and prayed over to discover the spiritual truths she hungered for. She found that through her increased spiritual understanding her prayers were helping others, including healing a blind child who was brought to her. And she herself was also healed of the persistent ill-health that had plagued her. No wonder she felt impelled to write a book that would unlock the Scriptures for others.
The Psalmist asks, ''When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?'' (Psalms 8:3, 4). I wanted to know more about man and the whole universe, and this desire is what was leading my thought that summer when we started reading Science and Health.
The moon and the stars began to symbolize for me the vastness and order of God's universe, and this glimpse of reality as wholly spiritual was immensely comforting as I viewed the sky from an improvised couch on our fire escape. I began to feel that the omnipotence that maintained such majesty could bring order and peace to my life. I had lingered long on the very first sentence in the Preface of our newly found book. There Mrs. Eddy says, ''To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings'' (p. vii). I was ready to lean on God with my whole heart.
And I was seeing the blessing this brought. The infinite was filled with God's orderly creation, and this same infinite was a sustaining one, actually sustaining me. At some point during those hours of being comforted by the stars and what they had come to represent, I realized I was lying flat on my back. This was something I had been unable to do ever since an operation years before. But now the ideas that had inspired me had also healed me.
The ideas in the Bible and in Science and Health meet us just where we are. Maybe I should call Science and Health a book of a thousand touches, for it has touched my heart in a thousand ways. But a thousand cures is really the same, for where it touches our heart and engages our mind, there is healing.